Intercalation Method Using Formamide for Differentiating Halloysite from Kaolinite

G. J. Churchman, J. S. Whitton, G. G. C. Claridge and B. K. G. Theng
Soil Bureau, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Private Bag, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Abstract: A rapid and simple test to distinguish halloysite from kaolinite in mineral mixtures has been developed based on differences in the rate and extent of formamide intercalation. With halloysite, complex formation was both rapid (< 1 hr) and complete, whereas no significant intercalation occurred with kaolinite until at least 4 hr after contact with formamide, and then the process may not have been complete. Unheated halloysite formed complete complexes with formamide regardless of the interlayer hydration state of the mineral. The test, however, was inconclusive for halloysite that had been oven-dried at 110°C, although some water may still have been present in the interlayer space. The extent of formamide intercalation by kaolinite was likely influenced by sample crystallinity, and the rate of complex formation was enhanced by the addition of up to 10% v/v water to the system. Nevertheless, the formamide test unambiguously differentiated halloysite from kaolinite. N-methylformamide, which yields complexes with a basal spacing of 10.9 Å, could be substituted for formamide (basal spacing = 10.4 Å) for samples containing appreciable amounts of illite-mica.

Key Words: Formamide • Halloysite • Intercalation • Kaolinite • N-methylformamide • Test

Clays and Clay Minerals; August 1984 v. 32; no. 4; p. 241-248; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1984.0320401
© 1984, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)